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Immigrant Location Decisions and Outcomes

IJED, Vol. 5 No. 3, (2003)

The majority of the latest wave of immigration has gone to only a handful of the largest U.S. metropolitan area. The robust economic performance of these “immigrant centers” has sparked a debate about merits of attracting foreign-born immigrants as part of a strategy to stem population loss and spur economic growth in economically lagging metro areas. However, any policy decisions require a better understanding of the nature and spatial implications of immigrants’ location decisions. We employ a non-linear model that uses two key individual location decision factors to predict the distribution of foreign-born citizens among metropolitan areas at three (U.S. Census) points in time: 1980, 1990, and 2000. The model guides an examination of the consequences in time of spatial distribution of immigrants based on the assumption that location decisions are driven by concentrations of co-ethics more than employment opportunity.

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